New Play Explores Historical Friendship

Categories // Entertainment Wednesday, 03 July 2013

Dubbed “powerful, funny, exhilarating” by ArtsBeatLA, the stage play “One Night in Miami” examines the at-times explosive differences—and inspiring friendship—of four larger than life figures in American history on the cusp of the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement.

Featuring an all male, African American cast, the play centers on actual events—a night in February of 1964 when activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, football champion Jim Brown, and heavy weight champion Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) gathered in a tiny hotel room in Overtown, FL, the city’s downtrodden black ghetto, to celebrate Clay’s historic victory over heavyweight champion Sonny Leston.

“Each of these men had achieved the rank of icon in completely different areas,” said playwright Kemp Powers. “So stripping away the icon and just seeing these guys being friends, being men, being a bunch of guys is really key.”

Powers proves himself a master of dialogue and character as he imagines the behind-closed-doors interaction of men who challenged each other’s ideologies and potential the night before Clay announced his conversion to Islam, mere months before Sam Cooke’s murder, and almost a year to the date before Malcolm X’s assassination at the hands of the Nation of Islam.

“My hope is that this will be the catalyst to learn more about Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, Cassius Clay, and Malcolm X,” said director Carl Cofield. “To dig a little deeper and find out what was really going on at the time.”

“One Night in Miami” is playing Fridays & Saturdays at the Rogue Machine Theatre now through July 28th. Tickets are $30.00.

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